August 27th, 2020

A Guide to Botswana's Zebra Migration

Written by:

Toby Pheasant


Safari 101


For over fifty years Africa’s longest mammal migration has been inhibited by a number of veterinarian fences that were erected across Botswana. 

Thankfully, since 2009 the ancient migratory routes zebra embark on every year are once again accessible.

There are two main migrations currently believed to occur, one which begins on Botswana’s northern border with Namibia, and the other which begins towards the southern parts of the Okavango Delta.

Zebra Migration in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans - Natural Selection

From early December every year, as the rains begin to arrive, both groups head towards the Makadikgadi and Nxai Pan region, found south-east of the Okavango Delta. These areas which once formed the largest in land lake in the world, are now the largest network of salt pans in the world. 

These mineral-rich salt pans fill with lush and nutritious grass with the arrival of the December summer rains.

Zebras photographed in the Okavango Delta - Toby Pheasant

June – mid-November

During the dry season, the zebra herds stay close to the flowing Chobe river or within the Okavango Delta which is usually brimming with lush vegetation thanks to the arrival of the annual floods.

Zebra begin their migration - Natural Selection


The herds begin their journeys towards the pans.

Camp Kalahari, a favourite camp of ours for witnessing the zebra migration. - Natural Selection

January - March

By January most of the zebra have reached their summer grazing grounds either in the Makgadikgadi or Nxai Pans. They remain here until the rains start to subside in late March. 

Some herds do however, leave slightly earlier on their return journey.

The return journey of zebra sometimes takes them along the Boteti River - Meno a Kwena

April – May

The herds' return journeys are not quite as direct as their route down in December. Many herds spread out and exploring different areas, driven by variations in rainfall throughout the year.

Zebra - Toby Pheasant


 The herds will have arrived back into the Chobe or Okavango for the dry season.

Thanks for reading,

The Bonamy Travel Team

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